(March 28, 2023) Dr Robert McQuillan shares thoughts on this query…
It’s been quite some years since we attended a pentecostal church having moved interstate and not finding one in the new city we moved to. Having recently moved again, we found a few in our new home town. But we’ve been surprised to find no one speaking in tongues during the service in any church we visited. I mean, we were always used to free flowing worship and towards the end someone (even up to three) would speak in tongues and someone would bring the interpretation. It was always an encouraging time, even if some challenge came through.
Also, at some point, usually after the announcements, the pastor would ask if anyone had a testimony to share, and usually two or three people would indicate that they had. And it was a time of joy and clapping of hands unto the Lord as people willingly came to the front and testified how God had blessed them in answering prayer.
But we haven’t come across this happening in any of the pentecostal churches we’ve visited. Doesn’t this happen anymore in pentecostal churches? Sarah.
I’m sorry to say that I too have noticed this for many, many years in pentecostal churches visited. Nor have I observed pentie pastors sharing prophetic messages or words of knowledge! Altar calls for prayer healing, yes. Sad really as I know the blessing speaking in tongues, followed by interpretation (as in 1 Corinthians 12:10) brought to hearts, as did prophetic words! I can well recall when Maureen and I would be ministering in certain pentecostal churches and would speak words of knowledge over certain people, the congregations rejoiced. But afterwards some pastors would ask in wonder, ‘How did you know (such and such) about “So and So”?’
(Now, note please, I’m not drawing attention to us, but to the blessed Holy Spirit!). Maybe some pentecostal churches do still operate the action gifts of the Holy Spirit (that Corinthians chapter above, verses 7-11), but I don’t know as I haven’t been around every one. I can only say that it’s a shame that this aspect of historical pentecostal churches has been missing for so long! And that I well remember decades ago that respected pioneer pastor ‘old’ Tommy Evans saying to me concernedly, ‘Robert, there’s something missing in Pentecostal churches these days.’
‘Pentecostal’ churches are supposed to be Spirit-filled… His gifts should operate in such churches especially by the pastors – but not by them alone! Verse 7 above says these gifts are for every Christian… ‘for the common good.’ In other words their usage is to bless other brethren. I like how the Good News Bible version reads – ‘The Spirit’s presence is shown in some way in each person for the good of all.’ Now that puts it in a nutshell! These are ‘manifestation’ gifts… meant to be manifested!
Sadly the reality is that since the 90s (gosh, 30 years ago!) and music (soon called ‘modern worship music’) became the focus of churches, what you’re asking about began disappearing. (We know of one Pentie church which has demanded for years that its music team comes to church at 7am to practise, practise, practise for the 10.30am service!).
Holy Spirit manifestation practice has been long swept under the carpet, even as it was centuries ago when the church began spreading! I recall one pentecostal pastor whose church I visited to share God’s word saying very pointedly to me, ‘You will not prophesy or anything like that!’
I’ll make one more comment, Sarah… for years now it seems to me that so many pentie pastors (who should know better!) don’t have that deep relationship with the Holy Spirit, and freedom and trust in their Lord, that they can dare to boldly move in the Spirit’s gifts without hesitating! And set an example to others of the power of God!
It’s almost as if they’re afraid to, or have never been taught from the word. In this connection, in teaching on the Holy Spirit at one of our Saturday seminars, after I’d explained about the gifts, I prayed for my listeners, then encouraged them to move among one another and believe they could boldly move in the Spirit. Hesitating only for a moment or two, they did so in faith (one the nine gifts mentioned in the scripture above, a manifestation of faith in action) and how many were so blessed. Words shared were so accurate! The experience was all in God!
I pray you find a good Bible-based church, perhaps a charismatic one that is unafraid to move in the Spirit! Meantime, as you obviously move in the gifts yourself, it’s interesting how He opens doors for us among congregations having cuppa in the after-service coffee time. We’ve found this even in mainstream churches (as well as supermarkets and eating houses as we share with unsaved folk. Yes, the gifts can used outside of church and have people thinking about God). Blessings!
Got a question for Dr Robert or Pr Maureen McQuillan? Email either: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com
Good morning, Dr Robert, thank you for an excellent response to Sarah’s question. That often neglected church handbook (The Book of Acts) will have to be dusted off and studied in great detail and followed. Empty Prayer Rooms across this nation will have to fill again. And all of this can only happen under the full leadership and direction of our mighty Holy Spirit. His active presence will once again be observed by the resurgence of messages in tongues and interpretation… and the prophetic word… being released during our public church services. Dr Robert, thank you again for an excellent article. Blessings over you and Pr Maureen, Kel.
Good answer, Robert. I believe the gifts God gives, including ‘tongues’ and ‘prophesy’ are still available for believers today to be used for edification and God’s glory. While I am not of a pentecostal denomination, in times past both of these gifts were used in my home fellowship, sadly not recently.